The Journey So Far: The Best of Loreena McKennitt

photo © 2007 by Lahri Bond

photo © 2007 by Lahri Bond

The Journey So Far: The Best of Loreena McKennitt
2 CD Deluxe Edition
(2013) Quinlan Road Limited, Distrubuted by UMe

Celebrating 30 years as a performing and recording artist, The Journey So Far – The Best of Loreena McKennitt is a commemorative recording that goes beyond the usual “best of,” and acts as superb, and concise introduction to this captivating performer's music. McKennitt is a Canadian musician, composer, harpist, accordionist and pianist, who has written and recorded nine studio albums of lush, invocative music, which unique fuses Celtic and Middle Eastern styles. A consummate live performer, she is known for her refined, clear, and sometimes dramatic soprano vocals.

This retrospective provides highlights from each of her studio albums, and it reflects the scope and diversity of her music. Classic material such as “The Mystic's Dream,” and “The Bonny Swans” are drawn from her The Mask and the Mirror record,” while early songs such as “Bonny Portmore,” “Down By The Sally Gardens,” “Stolen Child,” “The Lady Of Shalott,” and “Huron Beltane Fire Dance” are also present. Some of these tunes are presented in slightly edited or remixed forms. More world music embracing works such as “Marco Polo,” “Penelope's Song,” “Dante's Prayer,” and a remix of “The Mummers' Dance,” round out the single disc version of this collection. Certainly, this CD should wet the appetite for those unfamiliar with McKennitt's extensive catalog.

Long time fans will want to purchase the deluxe edition for the second disc of live highlights from her A Midsummer Night's Tour. Recorded in Mainz, Germany, in July 2012, the nine tracks illustrate both McKennitt's dramatic live shows, as well as her excellent touring band. Though many of these songs have appeared on her previous five live CDs, and are certainly on her studio albums, this recording features powerful new arrangements of songs such as “Night Ride Across The Caucasus,” “The Dark Night Of The Soul,” “Santiago,” and “Beneath A Phrygian Sky.” Violinist and long time band member Hugh Marsh soars on extended versions of “All Souls Night,” “Caravanserai,” and “Full Circle.”

The album is available as single disc, a deluxe 2CD edition, or as a digital download from McKennitt's Quillan Road site:

—Lahri Bond

About Lahri Bond

Lahri Bond is an artist, writer, musician and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. He is currently a staff writer for the Parents Choice Awards Foundation, as well as a former staff writer for Dirty Linen: The Magazine of Folk & World Music. He has written articles for Whole Earth Review, Iron Horse Notes,, The Green Man Review, and Scottish Life Magazine, among others. He was the art director for Dirty Linen for 25 years, and is currently the art director for Voice Male magazine. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

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